May 1, 2016

A Trip to the Dentist with Your Kids

Going to the dentist can be a daunting challenge for parents.

Here are some tips I have picked up after some eventful (think major tantrums and standoffs) and many rather terrific visits to the dentist with my two kids.

Photo taken at our family dentist
  • Make it a habit. Go to the dentist regularly, even as early as when your child's first few teeth come out, and don't make a big deal of it. Children are creatures of habit. If you are able to create the habit of visiting the dentist early, they will make nothing of it themselves.
  • Stay calm. Kids can sense if their parents are uneasy. Most kids, especially those aged 7 and younger, take many of their social cues from their parents. If you are comfortable and calm, your child will likely follow your lead.
  • Explain what procedure will be done to your kids. Don't under estimate a child's level of understanding. We ask our dentist to explain the procedure before hand and even allow our kids to "watch" the procedure using a small handheld mirror. It keeps our kids calm and gives them a sense of ownership for the care of their own teeth.
  • If your child will undergo a big procedure, say a tooth extraction, start planning early. We start conditioning our kids even as early as several weeks before the visit to the dentist so that when the day comes, they don't get surprised and anxious. Simple verbal reminders like: "we're going to the dentist on Saturday to get your teeth cleaned" helps a lot.
  • Lastly, go to a dentist you know and trust. Needless to say, you want to make sure your kids get the same level of care as you yourself would.
Every child is different so the above tips might not work. But from our own experience, treating your kids like little people, explaining to them the need for the procedure and then following through without any major surprises helps build their trust and confidence.

And I believe its never too young to start teaching your kids the importance of daily oral care and regular visits to the dentist.

Hope this helps and let me know what other tips any fellow parents out there have.